IFA: Epson president says crisis driving tech innovation

Competition and core values the recipe for growth

IFA: Epson president says crisis driving tech innovation

Mr. Minoru Usui, President of the Seiko Epson Corporation opened the 2012 edition of IFA, the world’s largest consumer electronics trade fair, by outlining his vision for growth in the technology sector.

Following a week of headlines dominated by news of major copyright settlements and challenges for the technology sector, Mr. Usui accepted in his keynote speech, that technology manufacturers were experiencing unprecedented change in their competitive environment, as well as their markets, and the economy at large.

Cautioning against short-term solutions, he advocated a return to core values as the answer not only to financial success, but finding innovative and differentiated solutions to society’s needs.

In addition to exhibiting new compact, high precision and energy saving printer and projector ranges (40% smaller than last year’s models), Mr Usui discussed Epson’s new wearable products, focused on entertainment, sports, medicine and healthcare.

Mr Usui said, “The maturation of printer, PC and smart phone consumer markets, increasingly means there are higher levels of cost competition, driving innovation in engineering. Epson has identified wearable PC technology as an area of future growth which it is uniquely capable to address.  Combined with our R&D in this field, competition in our core markets is also driving rapid innovation in our proprietary technologies that we can leverage for these new products.”

When Mr Usui took charge of Epson in 2008, he chose to emphasise Epson’s core values of Takumi (Craftsmanship) and Monozukuri (the art and science of manufacturing), as well as instructing his engineers to leverage Epson’s unique and proprietary technologies to new ends.

These choices have translated into a specialised engineering school to teach all Epson’s engineers the necessity to build-in mass manufacturing requirements into their innovative designs. And also, Epson’s continued ownership and oversight of all of its global manufacturing sites.

Mr Usui credited these early decisions with the development of this year’s product offering, saying, “We are confident that nobody else could make these products. Epson’s investment in its core engineering, manufacturing values and core technology has helped us achieve a historic high of up to 35% market share in the EU5 overall[1], and at times market leading positions in the UK, Germany and Italy for consumer inkjet printers this year. It has also helped Epson to maintain its number 1 position in global projector, large format printer and retail printer sales. Wearable PC products that interact with the cloud will come next.”

High precision, compact, energy efficient technology: Mr. Usui’s goal to create 40% smaller, high precision and highly energy efficient printers has been achievedin the Expression PremiumSeriesbeing showcased at IFA 2012. These compact inkjets are packed full of new features for more versatile home printing and are ideal for busy households who want the ultimate in home photo and document printing.

Moverio:The Moverio BT-100is a head-mounted display (HMD) that offers wearers a chance to enjoy big-screen entertainment on the go. Weighing only 240 grams, this compact device is the world's first product of its kind and is packed full of Epson technologies.

Although Epson’s first generation of see-through multimedia glasses has been designed for enterprise and entertainment, it has important potential future applications in healthcare, tourism, training and engineering. It offers the ability to watch a variety of content through transparent lenses, facilitating access to live information or entertainment while engaged in another task.

The technology that has enabled the realization of this innovative concept derived from advancements in Epson’s projection technology. The Moverio is now on sale in Europe, and Epson is already working on an update.

GPS Running Watch: Epson has developed one of the world's thinnest GPS-enabled running monitor, which is also extremely light. Developed to be worn on the wrist and equipped with long battery life, the monitor uses GPS to provide runners with accurate distance, pace and other data. Epson has released a commercial version of the monitor in Japan in 2012 as the company's first entry in the electronic sporting goods market. By focusing on engineering excellence, Epson has been able to overcome a number of challenges related to size, battery life and accuracy that set this product apart from any competitors.

Wristwatch-Type Pulse Monitor: Epson has entered the healthcare business with a Wristwatch-Type Pulse Monitor. The face on the LCD screen tells users how much exercise is required to burn fat, and is designed to encourage them to do the correct amount of exercise. When connected to the internet, the pulse monitor uploads information concerning the user’s health, enabling it to be recorded and monitored remotely. Epson launched sales of its wristwatch-type pulse monitor to company health unions in Japan. These statutory organizations are established in all companies over a certain size, and provide health-related support to employees including advice on exercise and diet. Future applications could include care of the elderly and others.

For more information and images the new product Epson is showcasing at IFA, please visit: www.epson.eu/ifa-4po2012

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[1]GFK MFD Inkjet Weekly Data